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Nurturing the Explorer mindset

As a strategic leader you have two major responsibilities - preserving what you got today and paving way for future growth.

The former will involve working with tangibles and optimising them. This will need Nurturing.

The latter will involve intangibles and a journey to the unknown. This will need Exploring.

Striking a balance between the two can accelerate the outcomes you create and help you seen as a mature leader.

As a coach, I see a lot of leaders who do well in the Nurturing part which involves the present and tangibles. They also feel its relatively easier to do it because it leverages all that they know from the previous experience.

Where they struggle more, is when they move to higher strategic roles, they are asked to be the Explorer working with unknowns & intangibles.

Sometimes the call of the role, is to do both which makes matters even more challenging.

Will focus this blog on the Explorer mindset and focus on nurturing later.

How can one build the Exploring mindset?

National Geographic has a wonderful article on the Explorer mindset and you can find it here.


Cultivation of an Explorer mindset involves Attitudes, Skills & Knowledge.

1. Attitude

Curiosity Nothing new was every created without curiosity. If you want to be an Explorer, you need an enthusiasm to understand things that are around you and ahead of you.

Empathy: Engagement with something in the future can happen only if there is a feeling associated with it. Empathy for the stakeholders of the future is key determinant in your motivation levels to make change happen.

Empowered: Your belief system on whether you have a sense of agency in making change happen goes a long way to install conviction and confidence.

2. Skill

Ability to hold multiple perspectives: A leader needs to appreciate multiple perspectives that are different from one's own and till make headway into decision making.

Collaboration: Being able to work with experts and being a servant leader.

Critical Thinking: Analysing & Synthesising and forming objective judgements help to reduce a lot of uncertainty in Exploring. Radical ideas emerge only from critical thinking.

Communication: Taking people along when you are the only one seeing what's possible is critical for the teams success.

Action: Acting on best judgement is important to test waters.

3. Knowledge

Knowledge of inside-out and outside-in perspectives is key in sporting trends and aligning the organisation to a shared purpose and future. More on it here.

If you are a leader performing strategic roles, what would you like to hone to be ready for the future?

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